STAR of the Month: Don't demonise the music - Konshens says dancehall shouldn't be blamed for society's ills
In the dichotomy of 'gyal chune' versus 'gun chune', many dancehall artistes straddle the line. Despite the variance between those prominent categories of dancehall music, the entire genre is scrutinised for its potential to negatively influence young consumers, causing policymakers to call for sanctions against some musical content.
"Dancehall, of course, plays a role because [fans] look up to dancehall artistes and what dem artiste a do, dem wah do too. But I don't think it's something where dancehall needs to be the sole 'blame-holder'," STAR of the Month Konshens said.
"Naturally, dem always try demonise music, and mek it look like, for example, Bounty Killer used to make man be bad man. But you can't put so much responsibilities on individuals like artistes, fi say, 'Yo, you have a responsibility fi grow my child fi me.' I think parents and the education system, the media outside of just what kind of music is being played also share this blame. You can't say a dancehall a cause it."
Agreeing that dancehall influences the youth, Konshens admits to being wary of his own lyrical content.
"But I wouldn't say all of my lyrics are geared towards positively influencing the youth. Dat a di ting with dancehall music, with music on a whole," he said.
SEXUALLY DRIVEN SONGS
Popular for sexually-driven songs like Gal A Bubble and Bruk Off Yuh Back, the dancehall artiste has found a comfortable avenue singing 'female-friendly' songs. In their uncensored presentations, such songs are deemed inappropriate for child consumption. To that, Konshens says: "But people need to understand, I'm not a religious leader. Mi a nuh teacher. Mi a nuh di pastor. Mi a nuh everybody fadda and everybody madda. At the end of the day, I get paid to entertain."
And as a father, the dancehall star applies a similar rationale.
"Every now and then I think it is my duty to send out messages weh me woulda want my pickney dem hear. But at the end of the day, it's out of my hands if them hear the other things that I have to say for 'entertainment'," Konshens told THE STAR.
"Personally and morally, I think there are lessons I need to teach because [the fans] dem a listen. But I don't feel like it is solely my mission to get up everyday and try to be them pastor or father or teacher. I don't think it is my responsibility to grow anybody pickney."
He continued: "At the end of the day, this is what I do as my job. I get paid to entertain, not to minister. So, mi nuh feel pressured like mi have to stop sing certain things. I think Broadcasting Commission and radio personnel, parents they have a role to play in not putting that burden on my back."